Can A Father Disinherit His Son From His Property?
Of about 22 million pending civil cases in the Indian courts, two-thirds were property-related disputes, Bengaluru-based non-profit company Daksh noted in its study in 2016. Tiffs in the family often lead to parents disowning their children. Most of the time, this disowning applies to property disinheriting. While fathers are well within their right to do so, let us see what the law says in different situations.
If the child is a minor
Although there might be lakhs of cases wherein parents might have abandoned their children, according to Section 125 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a man cannot refuse to provide maintenance to a legitimate or illegitimate minor child. The father is also responsible to maintain a minor child if they are physically or mentally handicapped.
If a minor girl child is married but her husband does not have the means to maintain her, the father is responsible to maintain her.
A father may be tried by the judiciary in case he fails to provide for his children or abandons them. This could result in fine as well as imprisonment.
If the child is a major
A father can disinherit his son from his self-acquired property only, and not from his ancestral property. Self-acquired property refers to property that is not inherited but is self-made out of one’s own funds and resources. Property acquired through a brother or an uncle may also be categorised as self-acquired. A property acquired through a gift deed or through a will is also self-acquired. Ancestral property is that which is inherited from a common ancestor- from father, grandfather or great grandfather. The common ancestor should be a direct male lineal ancestor.
If son has contributed towards father’s property
If a son is able to prove that his funds or resources were used by his father to build his (the father’s) self-acquired property, the father cannot deny the son his share.
Similarly, if a father dies without a will, his self-acquired property will be inherited by the son, in case the father has not created a will, bequeath the property to somebody else. He may also choose to gift it anyone he wants through a gift deed.
If the child is “wayward”
While parents are not liable to pay the debts of their children, they cannot use frivolous reasons to disown their child and disinherit them.
In 2012, a Delhi resident moved court, stating that he wants to disinherit his “wayward” son from his property because the latter had married without his consent. The court dismissed the father’s plea, terming it ineffective. In such cases, the father can choose not to give his self-acquired property to his son, but he can in no way deny the ancestral property.